We’ve been talking a lot about Tim Tebow’s image recently, from the way he’s portrayed in video games to the way his lawyers are zealously protecting his copyright by going after the makers of a T-shirt that doesn’t even have Tebow’s name or likeness on it. And now we have another story about the Tebow image, this one coming from a Broadway actress.
The actress is named Neka Zang, and she’s in the musical Rock of Ages on Broadway. According to TMZ, Tebow posed for a backstage picture with the Rock of Ages cast, but when Zang posted that picture on Twitter, she was asked to take it down.
“Well, Due to Tebow’s ‘image’ I was asked to remove the pic of him with us half dressed ladies. He does know we arn’t real strippers right?” Zang wrote on Twitter.
It’s not clear who actually asked Zang to remove the picture to protect Tebow’s image, but it’s an odd request: Tebow simply stood with four actresses, smiling. Zang described the actresses as “half dressed,” but you can see a lot more skin at any beach in America. You’d have to be awfully uptight to think Tebow is doing anything wrong in the picture in question.
So why the request to take the picture down? Apparently someone who’s awfully uptight is involved in the careful managing of Tebow’s image. Tebow has become a beloved figure for millions of Americans who think he represents everything that’s right and wholesome and pure, and with millions of dollars in endorsements at stake, Tebow has people working for him who want to make sure that wholesome image is the only image the public sees.
Paradoxically, by so carefully trying to micromanage his image, Tebow (or the people working on his behalf), may end up damaging his image as an authentic, down-to-earth guy. If you’re so worried about your image that you’re having your lawyers go after T-shirt sellers and asking actresses to remove pictures from Twitter, it’s hard not to question whether there’s any substance there at all, or if everything your fans find out about you is a carefully crafted bit of public relations.
If Tebow wants to maintain his image as the genuine article, he’d be wise to stop trying so hard to uphold that image.